The one word I need for the new year

I’m not superstitious or even a little stitious. I won’t eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day even though I love them every other day of the year. I’m also a New Year’s resolution rebel. Resolutions, to me, seem harsh and unbending. Historically, they are a setup for certain failure. I don’t need to do that to myself on purpose.

Goals, however, I can get behind. It’s recorded that Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.” I know that without goals I will procrastinate like it’s my job. I need goals but as I’ve come to know myself better in my wiser and more “mature” years, they tend to be more organic than rigid. Being a rule-follower by nature, the rigidity in enforcing a hard-fast goal on myself has proven detrimental to myself and others. I never want to forget that hearts are more important than a check mark. I never want to forget that hearts are more important than a check mark.

Thoughts so often run through my head like a herd of untamed horses. I need goals to help me tame the horses. I need goals to ground me in times when my thoughts can’t seem to come in for a landing.

As a writer, I like words. No, let me rephrase that, I LOVE words. I love reading them, thinking them, writing them, hearing them and when necessary, speaking them.

Read this: What do I hope 2018 brings for my marriage?

Even though I’m a self-proclaimed trend fighter, with my endearing love for words and desperate need for focus, this “Word of the Year concept garnered my full attention a few years ago.

There are certain words that mean a lot to me. Redeemed, chosen, grace, kind, and see to name a few. These are words that I’ve carried with me through seasons of reflection, growth, and healing.

Whatever” … this was my one-word mission statement for 2017. I admit it was a strange word that seemed to lack meaning and motivation but odd as it was, it had to be my word. As one who longs for safety and leans toward being too serious and intense, I wanted my life to include more playfulness and risk-taking. I also wanted to be able to, as my relaxed and mostly care-free husband likes to say, “blow it off”. It’s so easy for me as a people pleaser to commit myself to things I need to “blow off”. I’ve still got work to do but I am giving myself an “A” for effort for my work in this area over the last year.

When my life seemed mostly overwhelming and hard, focusing on the word “whatever” helped me relax and refocus my gaze on whatever God had for me.

Looking back over this past year, I have to chuckle at all that God was preparing me for as I chose and embraced His call to “whatever”.

For the coming year, the word God has clearly impressed upon me is “intentional”. I have set some writing and speaking goals for myself over this next year that will need a solid focus of intentionality if I’m going to even come close to accomplishing them. But I also want to focus on being intentional in other areas. Such as maintaining a healthy long-distance marriage, being a supportive mom to our adult children and their families, my health, being hospitable, being a good friend, my relationship with God and serving the Kingdom (not necessarily in that order).

My focus in 2018 will look like training myself to run every choice and decision through the filter of intentionality. Being intentional will afford me the freedom to say no to things that don’t fit into my goals and yes to the things that will.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise. Ephesians 5:15 (NIV)

If you don’t have a word for the coming year, I hope you’ll consider the benefits of this one-word mission statement and choose one. Get a piece of jewelry with it engraved on it. Frame it and put it on your nightstand. Write it in eyeliner on your bathroom mirror, or jot it down in your journal every day.

Need help choosing your word? Here are a few good ones to consider:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Now read this: For those who think God can’t use them today 

Andrea Stunz has been a Christ-follower from the age of seven. She is the loyal wife to one, loving mom to three amazing adult children, grateful mother-in-law and ridiculously proud grandmother. A well-traveled Texan, having lived in Brazil, Asia, and the UK, Andrea finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in a story, purpose in the sunrise, wonder in her travels, and hope in Colossians 1:17. Andrea longs to encourage others by sharing stories because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more from her at

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